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Showing posts from January, 2011

School Distric Logic

Another old one.  I really would have appreciated an answer to this, even if it was "You're right and there's nothing we can do." Speaking the Truth.. ...whether or not anyone's listening. My letter (also known as career suicide) to the people in charge of "Research, Assessment, and Accountability" in my district. Also known as the department that makes my kids take so many tests. (They're not responsible for the state testing, only for the mountains of district testing heaped on top of the state testing). I may be blacklisted now, but there are some times that - even if it's just for my own sake - I need to say what I know to be true. Dear XXX, I am a 3rd grade teacher in this district. I have just finished giving my students the mid-year math assessment and mid-year language arts assessment and I have a number of concerns that I hope you can address for me. First, this is the second math assessment this year which

The Purpose

I haven't had time for new posts lately, so here are some of my favorites. What I Want People To Know  I was talking to a friend the other day and trying to figure out why I am keeping up this blog. Part of me wants to show off my kids, how cute they are, what funny things they say. Part of me wants people to know what I'm going through with my ridiculous, dysfunctional district. But if that's all it is, I don't think I'd continue writing - I have a lot of other things that should be taking up my time. I think my main hope is that people will read this and understand that things are not OK in education in California . And more than that, I want people to get MAD about it. Most of this is detailed in previous entries, but there is severe inequality in our schools. If you (or anyone else!) doesn't believe me, read my blog, read Jonathan Kozol's books, come visit my school. The inequality is so entrenched that I honestly have no idea what ca

Parental Involvement

Two years ago, I wrote a blog post for the groupery about parental involvement, and how to encourage it.  I'd very much like to hear from teachers and parents about if they've had success with any of these ideas or if they have any other ideas.  Parental involvement is crucial for school success, so let's think of ways to increase it! Two years ago: Parental Involvement in Schools Four years ago: Infirmary Ward


From a student who wrote this after we had a lockdown because there was a shooting in the neighborhood. Storys make me feel that there is no lockdown and nothing happened to nobody and somtimes they make me feel that when there is thunderstormes i read a book and i feel that there is no thunderstormes and it is sraining a lot and it soundes like thunderstormes i read a long book because it rains a lot Three years ago: Another Possible Strike? Four years ago: More Evaluations                         Sinking to New Depths


I have a new puppy and, while I still miss Solomon, it is nice to have another dog.  She is very different from Solomon, and I'm glad of that.  I think these photos sum her up quite well. Three years ago: Changing Times: Cell Phones Four years ago: Evaluations

Jesus and Politics (rerun)

My new little puppy has been keeping me VERY busy so here's another old post. Jesus and Politics In college, someone asked me - with much sincerity - how I could be a Christian and vote against Proposition 187 . For those of you who may not have been in California or paying attention at the time, Prop 187 was an initiative that was meant to deny social services, health care, and public education to illegal immigrants. Health care workers and teachers were also supposed to report suspected illegal immigrants, I believe. The proposition passed, but was later overturned by a federal court. Aside from the disturbing consequences that might come from having the illegal portion of our population denied vaccinations and education (anyone really think that's going to help us out as a state? Whether or not you agree with undocumented workers being here, I would think we'd all want to make sure their children didn't get polio, even if it's only for the

Who Hasn't Wanted To?

Every teacher, ever, has had a student who's talked so much that this has been tempting.  If they say they haven't, they're lying.  I've had several students who have put tape over their own mouths because they can't stop talking.  They say there's no other way to stop talking.  One of them even said, "I want to stop talking because my mouth is tired, but I can't."  I always made them take the tape off but it's hard not to see it as a good, if temporary, solution. Two years ago: Lou Dobbs Three years ago: Butterflies, Warren, and Suzy

Report Cards in the Dark

A re-run from a few years back: I was remembering today about a day from last year when the lights went out. I was remembering this because it illustrates - so beautifully - the lack of logic among the administration. The lights went out - and stayed out for four hours - and it was totally dark outside from the rain. We couldn't see anything at all, but had to keep the kids the whole time. Afterward, they canceled our staff meeting in order to give us time to work on report cards. Unfortunately, it was so dark, I couldn't really SEE said report cards. When I went to talk to the principal and tell her I was throwing in the towel for the last 45 minutes of the report card period and going home to do it, she told me that I would have to fill out an absence form and take an hour of sick time for it. So I sat in the dark for 45 minutes, mulling over the question of why there is no logic at all in my district.   One year ago: Hamlet, Revisited Two years ago: R

Teacher Bullying

An interesting post here about teacher bullying.  Although I would caution parents to not overreact - no parent wants to hear it but your child does lie, every child does - it's good to be aware that this does happen. I've seen it happen.  Especially considering the environment in which teachers work now - they are under so much pressure and are not treated well - I think it's easy for teachers to take out their frustration on the kids in their class.  I've definitely seen it happen.  But make sure you as a parent get the whole story.  Observe the classroom - you'll be able to tell a lot about how a teacher treats students, even if it's a little different when you're there. Three years ago: Notes from Subbing in Kindergarten

Yet Another Tragedy

Another kid was killed in Oakland.  I hope it will never stop being surprising and horrific to us that young people are killed so often.  Once it does, I think we've all lost. Three years ago: A Moral Dilemma

The End of Third Grade

I found some more old student papers.  These students are now in 8th grade, I think, which is strange for me to think about! This one had a tendency to pout whenever he didn't want to do something: I have 36 days in third grade.  I am not happy because when I leave my teacher's class I will have to do harder work and we would have to wait longer to go eat for lunch.  I will be good and listen to the teacher and I wont make a pout when I don't want to do that much work.I am sad because I am going to miss my teacher and the gecko.  I am sad because I am going to miss all the people who came to this class.  I am sad because we won't be able to be on the computer that much and I am sad because after summer I will be going to a fourth grade class. I really like this one: I have 36 more days in third grade.  I am scared to go to fourth grade because it sounds scary and hard and teachers mite be mean.  I do not want to get sunburned in the summer because if I do, I will c

Glad I'm not Working Here Anymore

Just read this post from two years ago  Even having lived through it, I'm incredulous enough that I need to repost part of it. Happy New Year! If you can't read his headgear, the dog is also wishing you a happy New Year. I chaperoned a field trip right before Christmas - we took the kids to the Nutcracker . I was thrilled to not be the person actually in charge, so it was a fun day for me! Trips are much more fun when I'm not the one in charge of figuring out how we're going to get there, pay for it, not kill each other, and get home with everyone still in the group. The principal started off by being his charming self. Mrs. Dwyer set up the field trip and got people to donate the tickets as well as their time - she actually got enough drivers to take the whole class downtown. The teacher was very organized about getting everyone into the correct cars and keeping track of everyone. Mine was the second to last car to leave. As we were gettin